In an interview that is set to air tonight at 8 pm, former President Donald Trump said that we would not need COVID-19 vaccine mandates if he were still in office. “I wouldn’t say to anybody, ‘You have to.’ But I would sell it. Look, I’m very proud of what we did with the vaccines,” Trump told former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
“It was supposed to take five years and they said it wasn’t going to work. I did three vaccines in less than nine months and they do work, they work really well,” Trump added, according to The New York Post. “I would convince people, take it. I don’t want to push it … When I was president, there was no talk about mandates or anything. Everybody wanted the vaccine. Now a lot of people don’t want it.”
During Trump’s presidency, his administration spearheaded the development of COVID-19 vaccines through Operation Warp Speed, which poured billions into vaccine development and purchases. While President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were suspicious of the vaccine development under Trump last year, they have since taken credit for it.
“I first started the vaccination program,” Biden said earlier this month, even though he mostly followed Trump’s rollout plan.
Last month, Biden defended his vaccine mandates by claiming that those who are refusing to get the vaccine are endangering other people.
“Our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 66 percent of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 57 percent are fully vaccinated. Back in August, Trump was booed at a rally in Alabama when he encouraged others to get the vaccine.
“I believe totally in your freedoms. I do, you’re free, you got to do what you have to do. But I recommend taking the vaccines,” Trump said at the time amidst boos from the crowd, according to The Hill. “I did it, it’s good, take the vaccines.”
Last week, Biden defended vaccine mandates in a speech, according to CNBC.
“Every day, we see more businesses implementing vaccination requirements, and the mounting data shows that they work. Businesses and organizations that are implementing requirements are seeing their vaccination rates rise by an average of 20% or more to well over 90%,” Biden said. “Let’s be clear, vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us.”
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